By News Team
Last Updated: 14th April 2021
The F1 circuit continues at Imola this weekend for round two of the new season.
Things got off to a hectic start at the Bahrain Grand Prix with Lewis Hamilton taking the chequered flag 0.745s before Max Verstappen. Verstappen was hot on the heels of car number 44 for the closing stages of the race, even managing to overtake before handing the place back due to exceeding track limits.
Up next is the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix.
Verstappen looks dangerous
A fair few questions were answered during the opening race of the season, including whether or not the Red Bull was as quick as it seemed during testing. The short answer: It is. Verstappen took the first pole position of the season and was arguably the quickest throughout the weekend, only trumped by a solid strategic call from Mercedes.
Verstappen will be going into this weekend full of confidence after that performance and it’s no surprise that he’s favourite to grab his second pole of the season (5/6). However, one worry that will be playing on Verstappen’s mind is the fact that he’s never stepped on the podium in Italy. His highest finish in the land of the Tifosi is fifth, a feat he managed at Monza in 2018.
Despite the poor track record, Verstappen is second favourite to be on the top step of the podium on Sunday, currently priced at 11/8.
New race weekend, new records for Hamilton
Hamilton is aiming to be an eight-time world champion by the time the season draws to a close later this year and he got off to a great start by winning the opening race of the campaign. It wasn’t easy, and the reigning champion has stated that this could be one of his hardest seasons yet.
With Verstappen and Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas hot on his heels, it could be another tough assignment. He’s currently the market leader to take the chequered flag at 5/4, while Bottas, who is determined to prove himself as Hamilton’s equal, is 17/2.
Making a habit of breaking records in the past few seasons, Hamilton is lined up to equal another this weekend. He has currently tallied 120 races while leading the F1 championship, only trumped by Michael Schumacher with 121. He will equal this record if he remains in the lead after this weekend’s Grand Prix.
Perez aiming for podium with new team
Sergio Perez hasn’t been a Red Bull driver for very long, but in round one we saw exactly why he was put in the seat. Having struggled in qualifying and not making it out of Q3, things got worse for the Mexican when an electrical issue on the formation lap forced him to start from the pit lane. Working his way from the back of the grid, Perez put in a staggering performance to finish in fifth.
Ones to watch out for
The midfield battle has been the highlight of the last few seasons, with McLaren, Aston Martin and Alpine all battling it out to be the best of the rest. Ferrari slipped out of that group last season but look to be on the rise once again after solid performances from Charles Leclerc and Carlos Sainz. It would be great to see the Prancing Horse back on the podium on home soil and it would be no surprise if Leclerc could finish in the top three (9/2).
Aston Martin have been slow to settle in since their rebrand away from Racing Point. Sebastian Vettel struggled in the opening race, only managing finishing 15th while team-mate Lance Stroll picked up their only point when finishing 10th. Things can only get better for the Silverstone outfit and improvement can only be expected. Four-time world champion Vettel is Evens to score his first points of the season while Stroll is 4/1 to finish inside the top six.